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|United States Patent Application
Fillebrown, Lisa A.
;   et al.
May 9, 2002
Transmitter for a personal wireless network
The invention is a transmitter for a personal wireless network. The
transmitter includes an amplifier, a processor coupled to the amplifier,
a network connection coupled to the processor, a power connection coupled
to the amplifier; a transceiver bank coupled to both the amplifier and
the processor, and a wireless communication software stored in a memory
device, the memory coupled to the processor. The transmitter may be
enabled to create packets, to process received packets, and to associate
received data with a software program.
Fillebrown, Lisa A.; (Allen, TX)
; Kautz, Russell D.; (The Colony, TX)
; Glover, Kenneth M.; (Coppell, TX)
Robert C. Klinger
Jackson Walker L.L.P.
2435 North Central Expressway
February 1, 2001|
|Current U.S. Class:
|Class at Publication:
1. A wireless transmitter, comprising: an amplifier; a processor coupled
to the amplifier; a network connection coupled to the processor; a power
connection coupled to the amplifier; and a transceiver bank coupled to
both the amplifier and the processor.
2. The wireless transmitter of claim 1 further comprising wireless
communication software stored in a memory, the memory being coupled to
3. The transmitter of claim 1 further comprising an input/output port
coupled to the processor.
4. The transmitter of claim 1 further comprising an internal antenna
coupled to the transceiver bank.
5. The transmitter of claim 1 wherein the processor stores an algorithm
that enables a Bluetooth protocol.
6. The transmitter of claim 1 wherein the processor stores an algorithm
that enables a Home RF protocol.
7. The transmitter of claim 1 wherein the processor stores an algorithm
that enables an IEEE 802.11 protocol.
8. The transmitter of claim 1 wherein the processor stores algorithms that
enable a plurality of wireless protocols.
9. The transmitter of claim 1 wherein the transceiver bank supports a
plurality of wireless protocols.
10. The transmitter of claim 1 wherein the transceiver bank comprises at
least one transceiver.
11. The transmitter of claim 1 wherein the network connection is a USB
12. The transmitter of claim 1 wherein the network connection is a PCMCIA
13. The transmitter of claim 1 wherein the network connection is a Split
14. The transmitter of claim 1 wherein the transceiver bank maintains
software capable of implementing a wireless protocol.
15. A method of routing wireless information according to a wireless
communication protocol, comprising: receiving a video stream; converting
the video stream into video packets; and transmitting the video packet
according to the wireless protocol.
16. A method of routing wireless information according to a wireless
communication protocol, comprising: receiving a video packet;
transmitting the video packet according to the wireless protocol.
17. A method of receiving data from a personal wireless network,
comprising: receiving a video packet; transmitting the video packet
according to a different wireless protocol;
18. The method of claim 16 wherein the wireless protocol is a Bluetooth
19. The method of claim 16 wherein the wireless protocol is a Home RF
20. The method of claim 16 wherein the wireless protocol is an IEEE 802.11
21. The method of claim 16 wherein the wireless protocol is a plurality of
22. A method of receiving data from a personal wireless network,
comprising: receiving a data packet via a wireless protocol; converting
the data packet into data; and sending the data to a wireless server.
23. A method of receiving data from a personal wireless network,
comprising: receiving a data packet via a wireless protocol; and sending
the data packet to a wireless server.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 The present invention is related to and claims priority from U.S.
patent application Ser. No. 60/212,203 entitled PERSONAL WIRELESS NETWORK
by Fillebrown, et al., which was filed on Jun. 16, 2000.
 Generally, the invention relates to computer networks and wireless
devices, and, more particularly, the invention relates to wireless
computer networks. More specifically still, the invention relates to
wirelessly providing, through thin clients, access to software
applications executing on a server.
STATEMENT OF A PROBLEM ADDRESSED BY THIS INVENTION
 As the need for computer power has proliferated, many homes and
businesses have implemented networks of computers. Computer networks
facilitate access to widely needed data, and provide common access to
computer programs. In addition, computer networks provide the added
advantage of reducing the licensing fees associated with purchasing
multiple copies of software.
 Examples of computer networks include Local Area Networks (LANs)
and Wide Area Networks (WANs). A LANs provides common client access to at
least one computer server, and typically encompasses a single facility.
Similarly, a WAN provides common computing access to clients by
connecting multiple networks (including LANs). A WAN is commonly used to
connect multiple facilities that are geographically diverse.
 Generally, a LAN provides network access through at least one
server which is hardwire connected through twisted pair or coaxial cables
used to connect serial or parallel ports. Common types of LANs are
implemented via Ethernet or token-ring standards, and these standards are
implemented through servers running network software such as Novell
Network or Windows NT Network software.
 Commonly, a WAN may include one or more LANs, and also may include
remote servers which are connected through data cables known as trunk
lines that may be implemented as copper wires or fiberoptic cables.
Unfortunately, LANs and WANs are limited in that hardwire
port-connections are required to connect a client (typically, a computer)
with servers or to provide access to other networks.
 Accordingly, the use of network components, such as client and
server computers as well as network-enabled communications equipment, has
posed a challenge because each network component has to be able to
communicate across the network. This requires, at a minimum, that each
network component have the correct cable type and cable connection, the
correct PC card type, and the correct software to perform even the
simplest tasks. Then, the network component software must be integrated
and optimized with the network software. Fortunately, simple wireless
options for connecting devices and networks together are emerging.
 One wireless option is to use infrared communication technology.
Network devices that use infrared communications as a means for
transmitting data have enabled the cost effective integration of infrared
components into an array of devices. For example, some keyboards use
infrared technology to enable a keyboard to communicate wirelessly with a
computer. This allows a user more flexibility in placing their keyboard.
In addition, some laptops can communicate with a computer by using an
infrared port. As another example, some cellular telephones can use
infrared ports to transfer data to or from another similar cellular
phone. Accordingly, today many computing devices and some cellular
telephones have infrared ports, and infrared technology is being touted
as an easy way to provide short range wireless connections between
devices. However, there are some drawbacks in using infrared
 For example, infrared communications require the devices that are
communicating to be within a "line of sight" of each other. In other
words, the actual infrared ports of the devices must physically be able
to visually see each other without obstruction. Also, sunlight and some
artificial light sources can cause interference (their light often
contains light from the infrared spectrum).
 To overcome these and other disadvantages associated with available
wireless data communications, many corporate leaders came together to
develop a short range wireless solution called Bluetooth. Bluetooth is
implemented as a standardized protocol for short-range data communication
using unlicensed radio frequencies. Today, thousands of companies are
designing products that will utilize Bluetooth technology.
 Bluetooth technology operates in a 2.4 GHz Industrial Scientific
and Medical (ISM) band of the unlicensed radio spectrum. This portion of
the spectrum was chosen because of its international availability and its
unrestricted use. Furthermore, Bluetooth transmissions do not require a
line of sight to operate.
 Another wireless LAN standard that is gaining popularity is the
IEEE 802.11 standard and its successors (known today as 802.11b, etc.;
hereinafter, all of the 802.11 standards are referred to collectively as
"802.11" unless explicitly stated otherwise). In 802.11, there are two
different ways to configure a network: ad-hoc and infrastructure. In the
ad-hoc configuration, computers are brought together to form a network
"on the fly."
 In the ad-hoc configuration of a wireless network, there is no
structure to the wireless network, there are no fixed points, and usually
every device in the network is able to communicate with every other
device. As an example, consider a meeting where employees bring laptop
computers together to share information. Although it seems that order
would be difficult to maintain in this type of network, algorithms (such
as the spokesman election algorithm (SEA)) have been designed to "elect"
one laptop (or other available device) as a base station (or "master") of
the network--the other laptops and local devices are then designated as
slaves. Other algorithms in ad-hoc network architectures use a broadcast
and flooding method establish who's who in the network.
 In contract to the ad-hoc configuration, the infrastructure LAN
network configuration uses fixed network access points with which mobile
devices, such as laptops, can communicate. This configuration is similar
to a cellular network. Network access points are sometime connected to
landlines to widen the LAN's capability by bridging wireless nodes to
other wired nodes. As in cellular networks, if service areas overlap,
handoffs can occur.
 Despite the availability of wireless LAN protocols, there exist
needs for networks and for network components that allow a user to
wirelessly access software applications executing on a server, or to
access data needed by multiple clients within a network. Furthermore, it
would be advantageous to provide network access through an inexpensive
SELECTED OVERVIEW OF SELECTED EMBODIMENTS
 The present invention achieves technical advantages as systems,
devices, methods, and software that implement a personal wireless
network. The personal wireless network generally comprises a lightweight
wireless tablet (that preferably provides a color touch-screen display),
and incorporates wireless technology, such as Bluetooth or 802.11, to
send and receive audio and video from another system component.
 The personal wireless network also provides a wireless-enabled
routing component, which stands alone to route data traffic within the
personal wireless network (via the network's wireless protocols). In
addition, the personal wireless network provides a transmitter component
that connects to a computing device such as a server (or
network-dedicated device), and processes wireless protocols in order to
send and receive data, audio, and video packets (via the network's choice
wireless protocol). Hereinafter, the term "packet" is used to refer
collectively to a data, audio, and video packet. Furthermore, software
algorithms provide methods for supporting a personal wireless network
through the management of the data networking and application management
functions within a computer which functions as a server for the personal
wireless network. Accordingly, a personal wireless network is provided
that is inexpensive, scaleable, and flexible.
 In one embodiment the invention is a wireless transmitter. The
transmitter provides for an interface between a wireless protocol section
of a wireless network and the server-side section of the wireless
network. The invention includes an amplifier, a processor coupled to the
amplifier, a network connection coupled to the processor, a power
connection coupled to the amplifier, a transceiver bank coupled to both
the amplifier and the processor, and wireless communication software
stored in memory.
 In another embodiment, the invention is a method of sending video
packets to a personal wireless network according to a wireless
communication protocol. Accordingly, the method receives a video packet
from a network connection, and transmits the video packet according to
the wireless protocol. Optionally, the transmitter may compress and/or
 In yet another embodiment, the invention is a method of receiving
packets from a personal wireless network. This method includes receiving
a packet via a wireless protocol, and sending the packet to a network
 In yet another embodiment, the invention is a method of routing a
packet. The method receives a packet having a signal strength, amplifies
the signal strength, and then transmits the packet to either another
router, a wireless transmitter, a wireless client, or another device or
another network. The router may also transmit the amplified signal to
another device that is not part of the personal wireless network, but one
that has the same wireless protocol or is capable of understanding the
 Of course, other embodiments will be apparent to those of ordinary
skill in the art.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 Various aspects of the invention, as well as an embodiment, are
better understood by reference to the following EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT OF A
BEST MODE. To better understand the invention, the EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT
OF A BEST MODE should be read in conjunction with the drawings in which:
 FIG. 1 illustrates a typical personal wireless network;
 FIG. 2 is a block diagram of one implementation of a wireless
 FIG. 3 is a process flow diagram of a registration algorithm;
 FIG. 4 illustrates a block diagram of a wireless router (the
 FIG. 5 illustrates the functionality of the router as a routing
 FIG. 6A illustrates a video display system for use in a personal
 FIG. 6B illustrates an embodiment of a tablet interaction
 FIG. 7 illustrates one embodiment of a wireless transmitter;
 FIG. 8 illustrates one embodiment of a personal wireless network
 FIG. 8B provides the process diagrams of a wireless server
 FIG. 9 is a block flow diagram of a personal wireless network
AN EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT OF A BEST MODE
 A personal wireless network is provided that is inexpensive,
scaleable, and flexible. The invention is a transmitter for a personal
wireless network. The transmitter provides for an interface between a
wireless protocol section of a wireless network and the server-side
section of the wireless network. The transmitter includes an amplifier, a
processor coupled to the amplifier, a network connection coupled to the
processor, a power connection coupled to the amplifier, a transceiver
bank coupled to both the amplifier and the processor, and wireless
communication software stored in memory. The transmitter may be enabled
to send data that was created from the server-side section of the
wireless network across the wireless network, and to pass data to the
server-side section of the wireless network so that packets may be
processed and associated with a software program. In addition, the
transmitter enables the extension of the range of a personal wireless
network through the amplification and re-transmission of received data
 When reading this section (An Exemplary Embodiment of a Best Mode,
which describes an exemplary embodiment of the best mode of the
invention, hereinafter "exemplary embodiment"), one should keep in mind
several points. First, the following exemplary embodiment is what the
inventor believes to be the best mode for practicing the invention at the
time this patent was filed. Thus, since one of ordinary skill in the art
may recognize from the following exemplary embodiment that substantially
equivalent structures or substantially equivalent acts may be used to
achieve the same results in exactly the same way, or to achieve the same
results in a not dissimilar way, the following exemplary embodiment
should not be interpreted as limiting the invention to one embodiment.
 Likewise, individual aspects (sometimes called species) of the
invention are provided as examples, and, accordingly, one of ordinary
skill in the art may recognize from a following exemplary structure (or a
following exemplary act) that a substantially equivalent structure or
substantially equivalent act may be used to either achieve the same
results in substantially the same way, or to achieve the same results in
a not dissimilar way.
 Accordingly, the discussion of a species (or a specific item)
invokes the genus (the class of items) to which that species belongs as
well as related species in that genus. Likewise, the recitation of a
genus invokes the species known in the art. Furthermore, it is recognized
that as technology develops, a number of additional alternatives to
achieve an aspect of the invention may arise. Such advances are hereby
incorporated within their respective genus, and should be recognized as
being functionally equivalent or structurally equivalent to the aspect
shown or described.
 Second, the only essential aspects of the invention are identified
by the claims. Thus, aspects of the invention, including elements, acts,
functions, and relationships (shown or described) should not be
interpreted as being essential unless they are explicitly described and
identified as being essential. Third, a function or an act should be
interpreted as incorporating all modes of doing that function or act,
unless otherwise explicitly stated (for example, one recognizes that
"tacking" may be done by nailing, stapling, gluing, hot gunning,
riveting, etc., and so a use of the word tacking invokes stapling,
gluing, etc., and all other modes of that word and similar words, such as
"attaching"). Fourth, unless explicitly stated otherwise, conjunctive
words (such as "or", "and", "including", or "comprising" for example)
should be interpreted in the inclusive, not the exclusive, sense. Fifth,
the words "means" and "step" are provided to facilitate the reader's
understanding of the invention and do not mean "means" or "step" as
defined in .sctn. 112, paragraph 6 of 35 U.S.C., unless used as "means
for--functioning--" or "step for--functioning--" in the claims section.
 Computer Systems as Software Platforms
 A computer system (or, system) typically includes hardware capable
of executing machine-readable instructions, as well as the software for
executing acts (typically machine-readable instructions) that produce a
desired result. In addition, a computer system may include hybrids of
hardware and software, as well as computer sub-systems.
 Hardware generally includes processor-capable platforms, such as
client-machines (also known as personal computers or servers), and
hand-held processing devices (such as smart phones, personal digital
assistants (PDAs), or personal computing devices (PCDs), for example.
Furthermore, hardware typically includes any physical devices that are
capable of storing machine-readable instructions, such as memory or other
data storage devices. Other forms of hardware include hardware
sub-systems, including transfer devices such as modems, modem cards,
ports, and port cards, for example. The way hardware is organized within
a system is known as the system's architecture (discussed below).
 Software includes machine code stored in memory, such as RAM or
ROM, or machine code stored on devices (such as floppy disks, or a CD
ROM, for example). Software may include executable code, an operating
system, or source or object code, for example. In addition, software
encompasses any set of instructions capable of being executed in a client
machine or server-and, in this form, is often called a program or
 Programs often execute in portions of code at a time. These
portions of code are sometimes called modules or code-segments. Often,
but not always, these code segments are identified by a particular
function that they perform. For example, a counting module (or "counting
code segment") may monitor the value of a variable. Furthermore, the
execution of a code segment or module is sometimes called an act.
Accordingly, software may be used to perform a method which comprises
acts. In the present discussion, sometimes acts are referred to as steps
to help the reader more completely understand the exemplary embodiment.
 Software also includes description code. Description code specifies
variable values and uses these values to define attributes for a display,
such as the placement and color of an item on a displayed page. For
example, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the software used to
enable the Internet and is a description software language.
 Hybrids (combinations of software and hardware) are becoming more
common as devices for providing enhanced functionality and performance to
computer systems. A hybrid is created when traditionally software
functions are directly manufactured into a silicon chip--this is possible
since software may be assembled and compiled into ones and zeros, and,
similarly, ones and zeros can be represented directly in silicon.
Typically, the hybrid (manufactured hardware) functions are designed to
operate seamlessly with software. Accordingly, it should be understood
that hybrids and other combinations of hardware and software are also
included within the definition of a computer system and are thus
envisioned by the invention as possible equivalent structures and
 Computer sub-systems are combinations of hardware or software (or
hybrids) that perform some specific task. For example, one computer
sub-system is a soundcard. A soundcard provides hardware connections,
memory, and hardware devices for enabling sounds to be produced and
recorded by a computer system. Likewise, a soundcard may also include
software needed to enable a computer system to "see" the soundcard,
recognize the soundcard, and drive the soundcard.
 Sometimes the methods of the invention may be practiced by placing
the invention on a computer-readable medium. Computer-readable mediums
include passive data storage, such as a random access memory (RAM) as
well as semi-permanent data storage such as a compact disk read only
memory (CD-ROM). In addition, the invention may be embodied in the RAM of
a computer and effectively transform a standard computer into a new
specific computing machine.
 Data structures are defined organizations of data and enable an
embodiment of the invention. For example, a data structure may provide an
organization of data, or an organization of executable code (executable
software). Furthermore, data signals are carried across transmission
mediums and store and transport various data structures, and, thus, may
be used to transport the invention. It should be noted in the following
discussion that acts with like names are performed in like manners,
unless otherwise stated.
 FIG. 1 illustrates a typical personal wireless network 100.
Generally, in the personal wireless network 100, a plurality of wireless
clients, such as wireless tablets and wireless smart appliances
communicate via a wireless routing means, such as a wireless router 120,
with a wireless server 140, sometimes through a wireless transceiving
means 130. Communication standards in the personal wireless network 100
are preferably broadcastable wireless protocols, such as Bluetooth, IEEE
802.11, Home RF, or other wireless protocols.
 For the personal wireless network 100, preferably a wireless
protocol implemented at 2.4 GHz. Of course, other wireless protocols can
be implemented and other communication frequencies may be used as well.
Furthermore, multiple wireless protocols and communication frequencies
may coexist within a personal wireless network.
 Wireless protocols typically transmit information by packetizing
information. Packetizing information involves organizing information into
units known as packets. Packets may be grouped according to packets which
carry pure data (true "data packets"), packets which carry video
(sometimes called "video packets"), and packets which carry pure audio
(sometimes called "audio packets"). Hereinafter, the term "packet" will
be used to refer to all types of packetized information. Furthermore,
hereinafter, a type-specific packet (such as a data-only packet) will be
capitalized, such as with "Data packet" to emphasize that the packet is
of a specific type.
 Accordingly, a wireless protocol used to implement the present
invention will preferably implement the wireless protocol through
packeting. However, it should be understood that non-packetized
information might be transmitted across a wireless network. For example,
common UHF channels may be used to transmit video and audio information
within a wireless network. Furthermore, as advances in wireless
communication takes place, additional protocols and variations of
existing protocols may be used to implement wireless communications
within a personal wireless network.
 Wireless client means include devices that a user may use to access
a function provided by a personal wireless network 100. For example, a
user may choose to use a wireless client, such as a wireless tablet 110,
to access a software application that is provided by the wireless server
 Likewise, a user using the wireless tablet 110 may also communicate
directly with another user using a wireless tablet 112, or another user
using a wireless tablet 114. The communications between the wireless
tablets 110, 112, and 114, may include both audio and visual
communication. Similarly, a user using the wireless tablet 110 may access
wireless smart appliance specific applications associated with specific
wireless smart appliances.
 A wireless smart appliance is an appliance or device that has a
wireless network compatible processing system. Common appliances
implemented as wireless smart appliances include radios, televisions,
cable boxes, lights, alarms, ovens, washers, dryers, water faucets,
heating oil pumps, and thermostats, for example. As a specific example,
the user using the wireless tablet 110 may access a wireless smart
appliance implemented as a microwave oven 116. Thus, the wireless tablet
110 may allow a user to program a cooking time for the microwave oven 116
 Furthermore, a user at the wireless tablet 110 may wish to program
the microwave oven 116 to cook popcorn at a time coinciding with the
beginning of a movie video being rented, or viewed within the personal
wireless network 100 via the wireless server 140. Similarly, a user with
a wireless tablet 110 may control a second wireless smart appliance, such
as a radio 118, so that music may be heard through out or at any specific
location in the facility maintaining the wireless tablet 110.
 Of course, it should be understood that although wireless tablets
are illustrated as specific embodiments of a wireless client, it should
be understood that many other wireless client means may be utilized, and
it should be understood that a wireless client means is any device
capable of wirelessly communicating within a personal wireless network
and also capable of user interaction with other devices within the
personal wireless network.
 Information transmitted across the personal wireless network 100
through wireless communication protocols is achieved preferably through a
wireless transceiving means, illustrated as the wireless transmitter 130.
In one embodiment, the wireless transmitter 130 is connected via a cable
132 with the wireless server 140. The cable 132 can be provided as a
Universal Synchronous Bus (USB) cable, a parallel cable, or a
Split-Bridge cable, for example.
 Of course, it should be understood that although the wireless
transmitter is illustrated as connected via a cable to the wireless
server, it should be understood that any other means of connection
between the wireless transmitter and the wireless server may be utilized,
and it should be understood that a wireless transmitter means is any
device capable of passing information between a wireless transmitter and
a wireless server.
 Accordingly, when operating "downstream" (when data, packets, or
information flow from the wireless server 140 to a wireless client), the
wireless transmitter 130 preferably receives a Video packet and/or Data
packet. The wireless transmitter 130 is also capable of transmitting
packets in the personal wireless network 100 so that a packet may be
received by a wireless client means or a wireless routing means.
 The personal wireless network 100 may extend its range for
providing wireless communication by implementing a routing means, shown
as a wireless router 120 (or "router 120"). The wireless router 120 is
capable of receiving a packet, amplifying the packet, and broadcasting
the amplified packet so that the amplified packet may be received by a
wireless client means, another wireless router means, or a wireless
transmitter means. Accordingly, communication channels utilized by the
wireless router 120 are indicated in FIG. 1 by the bi-directional arrows
122. It is also useful here to define the "upstream" pathway as the path
of data, packets, or information that flows from a wireless client to the
wireless server 140.
 The wireless server 140 may be implemented as any personal
computer, handheld device, Internet appliance, or other computing
platform capable of executing software algorithms needed to enable the
personal wireless network 100. Furthermore, the wireless server 140 may
integrally include the wireless transceiving means previously discussed.
 In one embodiment, the wireless server 140 may form part of a Local
Area Network (LAN). Thus, the wireless server 140 is illustrated as being
connected to a second computer 160 (which could be indicative of a LAN
server) across a connection 144 that could be an Ethernet connection. In
addition, the wireless server 140 may be connected to other networks as
part of a Wide Area Network (WAN), a satellite network, or other
communication network. Furthermore, the wireless server 140 preferably
provides a connection to the Internet 150, or a successor to the Internet
150 through an Internet connection 142. The Internet connection 142 could
be a hardwire Internet connection, such as a digital subscriber line
(DSL-sometimes called an xDSL), or a wireless Internet connection.
 The personal wireless network 100 may be implemented as a home
network. Accordingly, when implemented as a home network the personal
wireless network 100 is used as a wireless extension of a personal
computer within a home. Preferably, a home network implementation
transmits video output through a wireless protocol link, such as a
Bluetooth communication link or 802.11, to a wireless tablet.
Accordingly, at the wireless tablet the user has access to all
applications that could execute on a personal computer.
 Thus, the wireless tablet could access wireless server 140 to
provide television programming, the Internet, or e-books, for example.
Furthermore, in a home network, wireless tablets may access other
wireless devices, particularly those wireless devices that have the same
wireless protocol link. Other wireless devices include wireless
repeaters, wireless infrared converters (such as remote controls).
 One possible embodiment of the personal wireless network 100
integrates telephone technology into the personal wireless network. For
example, a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) interface may be used to provide
telephone access to the personal wireless network 100. Thus, a user may
have access to his phone calls, and view the receiving caller-ID (CID)
phone number when away from his desk by redirecting his personal phone
number to the wireless client. Such an implementation may provide for
unified messaging, and remote voice mail support.
 A user typically accesses the personal wireless network 100 through
a wireless client, such as a wireless tablet. FIG. 2 illustrates a block
diagram of one implementation of a wireless tablet 200. Within a housing
205 of the wireless tablet 200, a processor 208 is used to interconnect
and drive other components of the wireless tablet 200. Preferably, the
processor 208 is a RISC processor, such as a ARM processor, or, more
specifically, an Arm 7 Thumb Processor, for example. Of course, other
processors can be implemented and used to interconnect and drive other
components of the wireless tablet 200. The processor 208 is chosen
primarily for size and power consumption rather than raw processing power
since the processor 208 needs only to provide adequate processing power
to accept data inputs, to compress data packets, to route the data
packets to a transceiver 240, to receive video and audio packets from the
transceiver 240, and to decompress the data and produce video and audio
from the received packets.
 Video packets received by the wireless tablet 200 carry video
display information which the processor 208 sends to a display 210. The
display 210 may be a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), a plasma display, or
any other light-weight and thin display. Preferably, the display 210 is a
color display. The display 210 may be complimented with a display driver
215. The display driver 215 maintains the software needed to rapidly
convert video packets into displayable video information. Furthermore,
the display 210 may also provide touchscreen capabilities and preferably
implements touchscreen capabilities through a touchscreen interface 220.
The touchscreen interface 220 receives information indicating the
location of the display 210 that a user touched. The information
indicating the location that the display 210 was touched is then
transferred to the processor 208. The processor 208 can use the
information, and may convert this information into data indicative of a
predefined user input.
 Likewise, a mouse and/or keyboard may be used for data and location
input. The information from either the mouse and/or keyboard is
transferred to the processor 208. The processor 208 can use the
information, and may convert this information into data indicative of a
predefined user input. In addition to video information, the wireless
tablet 200 may also send and receive audio information. In receiving
audio information, the wireless tablet 200 will receive audio packets and
the processor 208 will send the packets to the codec 235. The codec
converts the Audio packets into data, and sends the data to speaker 250
and speaker 252 to produce audible sound. Accordingly, two speakers 250,
252, are shown so that stereo type audio may be provided by the wireless
tablet 200. In addition, audio sound may be input into the wireless
tablet 200 through a microphone 254, converted to data by the codec 235,
sent to the processor 208 which converts the data into Audio packets. In
addition, audio sound inputs may be received into the wireless tablet 200
may be streamed as audio through wireless protocols or Ultra High
Frequency (UHF) transmissions. In addition, audio inputs and output
connections may be provided for external microphones, and for external
speakers. Such connections are illustrated in FIG. 2 as the block I/O for
Audio Devices 265.
 Data, audio, and video are sent and received from the wireless
tablet 200 through a transceiver 240 which receives the data, audio, and
video preferably via an internal antenna 245. Accordingly, the
transceiver 240 is preferably capable of sending and receiving
information in a plurality of protocols. Furthermore, the internal
antenna 245 may be expandable and elongated such that it would protrude
from the wireless tablet 200. Preferably, the wireless transmitter
employs a powerful amplifier 242. Accordingly, the amplifier 242 is
enabled to amplify signals prior to the signal's transmission from the
transceiver bank 240 and antenna 245. The processor 208 is augmented
through a memory device 225. The memory 225 preferably provides both RAM
and ROM so that the processor 208 may have access to a predefined set of
start-up instructions, as well as access to storage for programs that
load onto the wireless tablet 200. Programs may be loaded onto the
wireless tablet 200 (or copied from the wireless tablet 200) through
wireless transmission or through a data input/output port 260. The memory
225 may also maintain software capable of producing an onscreen keyboard
which a person may use to key in information into the wireless tablet
200. In addition, the memory 225 may also store other software programs
that are used by the wireless table, like a media player for playing MP3
 Software programs, external operating systems, data, audio
recordings, movies, or other prerecorded information may be placed onto
the wireless tablet 200 through a memory device placed in the memory
device port 230. The memory device port 230 is preferably a compact-flash
port. However, it should be understood that the memory device port 230
may also be a PC card port, a multi-media card port, or any other type of
port capable of providing access to a transferable data storage device or
data storage medium. In addition, the data input/output port 260 may
provide input/output capabilities for hardware input/output devices such
as a keyboard, digital camera, or diagnostic devices. Power is provided
to the wireless tablet 200 through a battery 280. The batter 280 is
preferably a lithium (Li) ion, or other rechargeable battery. However, a
power cord connection 285 is provided so that a power cord may be
connected directly to the wireless tablet 200 so the battery 280 may be
recharged. Furthermore, although no connections are shown from the
battery 280 to any of the components of the wireless tablet 200, it
should be understood that the battery 280 is connected in such a way as
to provide appropriate power to each and every component of the wireless
 One of the more complicated processes implemented by the wireless
tablet 200 is the registration process whereby the wireless tablet 200
registers with a personal wireless network. FIG. 3 is a process flow
diagram of a registration algorithm 300 according to one embodiment of
 First, upon connection between the wireless tablet 200 and the
wireless server, a network login should be established. This network
login is a verification of the wireless tablet 200 to the wireless
server. This ensures security access to software applications on the
wireless server. Upon verification of the network login, a complete
secure list of software applications is sent to the wireless client 200.
 After a connection is established, the wireless client selects an
application which then establishes a network registration. In a network
registration, the wireless tablet 200 receives a user input. The user
input may be as simple as a character, or a location of a display being
touched. Accordingly, the network registration also converts the user
input into predefined information, and then organizes this information
into at least one data packet. Preferably, the user inputs are made in
response to the display of a registration page. However, in any event,
the data packet may be compressed and transmitted via a wireless protocol
to a wireless server.
 The wireless server then extracts the information from the data
packet in order to check the information to make sure that the user has
entered an appropriate input. In other words, the wireless server
verifies that the user input indicates that the user is an authorized
user. Assuming that the user is an authorized user, the wireless server
updates the system to provide access to the person at the wireless
 Next, the registration algorithm 300 proceeds to a receive video
act 320. In the receive video act 320 the wireless tablet 200 receives
video via a wireless transmission. The wireless transmission may be
packetized video, streamed video, or broadcast video. If the video
received is packetized, the wireless tablet 200 converts the packetized
video into displayable video so that the registration algorithm 300 may
next, in a display video act 330, displays the video information received
in the receive video act 320.
 Thus, the display video act 330 decompresses the video packet
received in the receive video act 320. The display act 330 also extracts
display information stored in the video packet which defines the color
intensity of each pixel of a display. Next, the display act 330
determines which pixels require a change in color or intensity and
directs the display to change those pixels. Accordingly, should a pixel
not require a change, the color and intensity of that pixel is
maintained. The video display in the display video act 330 is preferably
static until user input is received.
 Accordingly, in a receive input act 340, the registration 300
receives a user input. The user input received in the receiver input act
340 is then converted into information, the information is packetized,
and the packet may be compressed to prepare the information for wireless
transport across the network. Next, in a transmit input act 350, the data
packet is transmitted across the wireless network. Thus, the wireless
tablet 200 is definable as a device which takes user inputs and converts
these user inputs into wirelessly transmittable data packets, and is a
device which receives video and audio and display that video or plays
that audio so that it is user perceivable. The range of the personal
wireless network may be extended through the use of a routing means such
as a wireless router. FIG. 4 illustrates a block diagram of a wireless
router 400 (the router 400). The housing 405 of the router 400 maintains
a processor 420. As is the case with the wireless tablet 200, the
processor 420 implemented in the router 400 is preferably a RISC
processor such as an Arm 7 Thumb processor. The processor 420 controls a
transceiver bank 410 through algorithms maintained in a memory 430.
 The transceiver bank 410 maintains at least one transceiver capable
of sending and receiving audio and video streams, as well as data
packets. Preferably, the transceiver bank 410 maintains a plurality of
transceivers and is capable of implementing a plurality of wireless
protocols. Accordingly, the processor 420 implements control over the
plurality of wireless protocols implemented by the transceiver bank 410.
Wireless transmissions and receptions are achieved via an antenna 412,
which is preferably an internal antenna.
 One important function of the router 400 is the amplification of
wireless transmissions. Accordingly, the router 400 provides at least one
amplifier 440. The amplifier 440 is powered preferably by an external
power source, which is connected to the router 400 through a power plug
445. In addition, the power plug 445 may include transformers needed to
convert external a/c power sources into whatever power, frequency,
voltage, or amperage is preferred by the amplifier 440. In practice, the
processor 420 controls the flow of power amplification into the
transceiver bank 410 from the amplifier 440. To facilitate the placement
of software into the memory 430, to provide quick programming of the
processor 420, and to enable the router 400 to be quickly diagnosed
should a problem occur, an input/output port 450 is provided.
 FIG. 5 illustrates the functionality of the router 400 as a routing
algorithm 500. First, in a receive act 510, the routing algorithm 500
receives a wireless transmission. The wireless transmission may be a
video stream, an audio stream, or a data packet. Next, the routing
algorithm 500 proceeds to an amplify act 520. In the amplify act 520 the
routing algorithm intensifies the signal received in the receive act 510
by increasing its power. In other words, the power of the receive signal
is amplified in the amplify act 520. Then, in a transmit act 530, the
routing algorithm 500 transmits the amplified signal so that the
amplified signal may be received across a wider area than the signal
received by the receive act 510.
 Additionally, the router 400 may transmit the amplified signal to
either another router 400, a wireless transmitter, or a wireless client.
The router may also transmit the amplified signal to another device that
is not part of the personal wireless network, but one that has the same
wireless protocol. The router may also change its wireless protocol to
provide for a more appropriate communication link and transmit the
amplified signal if the destination device has a different wireless
protocol than the received signal.
 Of course, additional functionality may be provided by the routing
algorithm 500. For example, the routing algorithm 500 may provide
screening or filtering capabilities so that signals not intended for a
particular router will not be amplified by that router. This provides
privacy and prevents the router from wasting power amplifying signals
which do not require amplification.
 The routing algorithm 500 may also provide for signal adequacy
testing. Thus, if the routing algorithm 500 detects that a signal is
adequately strong enough to reach a known destination, the routing
algorithm 500 will not amplify that signal. This saves power, and reduces
the transmission band as used within the router, enabling the router to
carry more traffic.
 FIG. 6A illustrates a video display system 600 for use in a
personal wireless network. In the personal wireless network a wireless
tablet 110 receives a video signal 610 from a video broadcaster 620.
Within the video broadcaster 620 plurality of video transceivers 630
receive video signals, such as television channels. Accordingly, each
video transceiver is capable of receiving an independent video channel
and thus the video broadcaster 620 may support as many different
broadcasts as the video broadcaster 620 has video transceivers 630. The
channels (or signals) received by the video transceiver 630 are
demultiplexed by a first multiplexer 640, enabling each channel to be
broadcast over a first antenna 642.
 Similarly, the channels received by the video transceivers are
picked up by a video source, such as a second antenna 662 (similarly,
video may be received by a video jack 670 which may be connected to a
cable (which is then in communication with a cable television source), or
satellite television transmission, for example). The video transmissions
received by the second antenna 662, or the video jack 670, are
multiplexed through a second multiplexer 660. The video jack 670 may also
be connected to the wireless server to provide access to wireless server
applications as well as to the Internet.
 A wireless protocol enabled controller 650 (Bluetooth, or 802.11,
for example) provides for channel selection, volume control, item
selection, and other user interactions between the video broadcaster 620
and the wireless tablet 110. These interactions are typically data packet
communications sent from the wireless tablet 110 to the video broadcaster
620 through the wireless connection 615. Thus, the Bluetooth enabled
controller 650 directs the second multiplexer 660 to place certain
channels through the video transceiver 630 and also directs the channel
characteristics prior to these channels being received by the multiplexer
 In addition, a user at the wireless tablet 110 may perform a number
of interactions with the channels received at the wireless tablet 110.
For example, the user at the tablet 110 may select a specific volume,
brightness, or other visual display control. Furthermore, the user at the
wireless tablet 110 may even play Internet enabled games at the wireless
tablet 110 which are broadcast by the video broadcaster 620.
 FIG. 6B illustrates an embodiment of a tablet interaction algorithm
680. The two semi-circular arrows of the tablet interaction algorithm 680
illustrate the simultaneous interaction of a tablet act 685 with a CPU
act 690. In the tablet act 685 data packets are sent across a wireless
link 687 and received by a device capable of data processing. Likewise,
in a CPU act 690, a audio and/or video signal is broadcast for reception
by a wireless client such as a wireless tablet across a wireless
communication channel 692.
 Wireless transmissions are generated at a server location and
broadcast through a personal wireless network from a wireless
transceiving means such as a wireless transmitter. FIG. 7 illustrates one
embodiment of a wireless transmitter 700. The wireless transmitter 700 is
structurally (hardware-wise) similar to the wireless router 400, and may
use a housing 705 similar to the housing 405. However, in addition to an
input/output device utilized for diagnostic purposes (illustrated as a
port 755), the wireless transmitter 700 includes an input/output port
that is dedicated for connection to a server, illustrated as I/O to
server block 750 (I/O 750). I/O 750 may be implemented as a card
connection for insertion into a motherboard card slot. However, I/O 750
is preferably implemented as a wire based port. For example, I/O 750
could be implemented as a USB port, a parallel port, or a Split-Bridge.
 Another difference between the wireless transmitter 700 and the
router 400 is that the wireless transmitter 700 has the ability to
receive a compressed packet from the wireless server through the I/O 750.
Thus, the processor 720 is capable of receiving a packet, and
transmitting the packet via a wireless protocol. Similarly, the processor
720 is capable of taking a packet received from the transceiver bank 710
and then sending the packet to the wireless server through the I/O 750,
or to a wireless router, or to a wireless client. Accordingly, the
routing algorithms needed to determine where the received packet's
destination packet needs to be sent are maintained in a memory device
 Additionally, when the wireless transmitter 700 receives packets
that are not sent to the wireless server, the same criteria is used as
the wireless router (this was stated in previous paragraphs explaining
FIG. 5). The wireless transmitter 700 is powered through a power plug
745. Preferably, the wireless transmitter employs a powerful amplifier
740. Accordingly, the amplifier 740 is enabled to amplify signals prior
to the signal's transmission from the transceiver bank 710 and antenna
712. One preferred method of enabling a common computing platform is to
implement a personal wireless network by providing, downloading, and
storing a personal wireless network enabling software block 800 on a
common computing platform, thus creating a wireless server. FIG. 8
illustrates one embodiment of a personal wireless network software block.
 The personal wireless network enabling software block 800 includes
an operating system stack 810 which maintains the operating systems
needed to implement the personal wireless network. For example, the
operating system stack 810 may maintain proprietary operating systems
812, background capable operating systems 814, network operation systems
816, or session management operating systems 818. The operating systems
may be available through a common operating system such as an enhanced
Windows based operating system, or a proprietary operating system. Then,
on top of the operating system stack 810 are placed network enabled
 Preferably, the network enabled applications 820 are capable of
operating in the background of the wireless server. So, a user may access
the wireless server and run a software program which is viewable via a
monitor or other display device while, at the same time, other users are
accessing the wireless server remotely and could, in fact, be running
additional instances of the same program (recall that "background"
operations enable the person directly accessing the wireless server to do
so while being unaware that other persons are remotely accessing the
wireless server). Examples of network enabled applications include
network enabled games, word processing applications, database
applications, scheduling applications, spreadsheet applications, Internet
enabled applications, and wireless smart appliance applications.
 The personal wireless network enabling software block 800 also
includes a communications stack 830. The communications stack 830
includes software capable of implement wireless communication protocol.
For example, the communications stack may provide a Home RF protocol 838,
an IEEE 802.11 protocol 836, a Bluetooth protocol 834, or a proprietary
communication protocol 832, for example. Of course, additional protocols
may be provided.
 A personal wireless network enabling software block 800 may also
provide useful software applications. For example, the personal wireless
network enabling software block 800 may provide a data enablement stack
840. The data enablement stack 840 may include voice recognition software
842, or handwriting software 844. Furthermore, the personal wireless
network enabling software block 800 could also provide security software
850. Security software 850 could include software that enables a user to
register at a wireless client, software capable of identifying and
directing packets to appropriate personal wireless networks operating in
proximity to each other, and software capable of detecting and alerting
the personal wireless network of an intruder.
 The personal wireless network enabling software block 800 may also
include a compression/decompression block 855. This block issued for
receiving streamed data from any of the software blocks within the
personal wireless network and convert the streamed data into compressed
data using a compression algorithm. When a compressed signal packet is
received from the personal wireless network, a decompression algorithm is
used. Examples of the types of compression/decompression algorithms may
be RLE 856, JPEG 857, or LLE 858, for example. Of course, other types of
compression/decompression algorithms may be used.
 The operation of a network server may be better understood by
examining the processing of a packet received by the wireless server.
Accordingly, FIG. 8B provided the process diagrams of a wireless server
algorithm 860. First, in a reception act 865 the wireless server
algorithm receives a data packet having data. Then, in an association act
870, the wireless server algorithm 860 extracts data from the data packet
and associates the data with a software application. Preferably, this
software application is a software application executing in the
 Accordingly, the data is utilized by the wireless server algorithm
860 in a software interaction act 875 to update the appropriate software
application executing on the wireless server. Typically, the data will
cause the software application to perform a predetermined operation. Of
course, a number of variations of these steps are possible. For example,
a data packet may be specifically converted into a data stream.
Furthermore, the act of receiving may be accomplished through an external
transmitter or an internal transmitter. Furthermore, the data packet may
require decompression before the data packet may be converted into data.
 Typically, the software interaction act 875 will generate a change
in software that causes a change in the video display produced by the
software. Accordingly, the wireless server algorithm 860 proceeds to a
generate video act 880 in which a video stream indicative of a visual
display associated with the software application is created. Then, the
video stream will be organized into at least one video packet for
transmission onto the personal wireless network. Thus, a video packet is
transferred directly from a wireless transmitter maintained in the
wireless server, or an external wireless transmitter in a transmission
 It should be emphasized that the video stream may be packetized and
compressed by the wireless transmitter itself. Furthermore, it should be
understood that more than one wireless protocol might be used at any
given time. For example, the wireless server may communicate with one
wireless client such as a wireless tablet though a wireless protocol,
while the wireless server may communication with a second wireless
client, such as a wireless smart appliance, through a Home RF protocol.
Likewise, it should be understood that audio or video might be broadcast
through standard UHF channels.
 Thus, having examined the personal wireless network from a system
level, as well as by examining some of the devices which may be used by a
personal wireless network, one may gain a better understanding of the
personal wireless network by looking at the process of user registration
in greater detail from a system level perspective. Accordingly, FIG. 9 is
a block flow diagram of a personal wireless network processing algorithm
900 (processing algorithm 900).
 First, in a start act 905, a user turns on a wireless client. The
wireless client displays for the user a registration page which has been
preloaded into the ROM of the wireless client. Afterwards, the processing
algorithm 900 proceeds to a registration act 910 in which the user will
provide a registration page with the requested information (note that it
is assumed that the user is an authorized user and that the information
provided by the user is valid and correct information needed for
registration). Next, the processing algorithm 900 proceeds to a
transmission act 916. In the transmission act 916 the information
provided by the user in the registration act 910 is converted into
packetized data which is broadcast via a predetermined wireless protocol.
 In the event that the wireless client is located significantly
remotely from a wireless server, the processing algorithm 900 proceeds to
a routing act 917 in which the packet from the registration act 910 is
received by a wireless router, amplified, and then retransmitted as an
amplified signal. Although not shown, the routing act 917 may be repeated
numerous times by various wireless routers (as needed) so that the packet
transmitted in the transmission act 916 may be received by the wireless
transceiver means of the wireless server in a reception act 918. The
transmission act 916, the routing act 917, and the reception act 918, may
be collectively referred to as a wireless communication act 915.
 Following the reception of the packet sent in the transmission act
916, the wireless server processes the packet by extracting data from the
packet, associates the data with an executing software program, and then
using the software program to process the data. Accordingly, since the
data transmitted in the transmission act 916 was data regarding user
verification, it will be assumed that the information processed by the
software application verifies that the user is an authorized user.
Accordingly, the wireless server produces a video signal, such as a Video
packet, containing information regarding a welcome screen and transmits
the video across on a wireless network in a video transmission act 925.
Then, the video transmission is received by the wireless client either as
a broadcast, or through a process similar to the wireless communication
 The wireless client next, in a video processing act 930, receives
the information broadcasted in the video transmission act 925. In the
video processing act 930, the wireless client processes and displays the
video information received by the wireless server. The video received is
then displayed and remains static at least until a user entry is
received. However, it should be noted that the period in which the
display is static may be extremely short, such as a 1,000th of a second
(or less) in the case of a video movie broadcast (such as when a DVD is
 The processing algorithm 900 proceeds to a user entry act 935. In
the user entry act 935 the wireless client receives a user entry such as
the touching of the display, a voice command, or another entry from a
device attached to the wireless client. Then, the wireless client
converts the user entry into a transmittable packet and transmits the
packet in a data transmit act 940. The packet is routed as previously
discussed in the wireless communication act 915, and once received by the
wireless server is decompressed, associated with the appropriate
executing software program, and is processed in the background as a
background processing act 945. If the associated program is not yet
executing, the server is instructed to run the program (in other words,
to begin the execution of the program).
 The processing algorithm 900 continues to a video update act 950.
In the video update act 950 the display generated by the executing
software is updated to reflect any changes caused by the data received by
the wireless server and processed in the background act 945. Accordingly,
any changes detected in the video update act are converted into the
appropriate video information needed to direct a display device at the
wireless client to display the appropriate video output.
 Thus, this video information is compressed, packetized and sent to
the wireless client through a process similar to the wireless
communication act 915 in the video update act 950. Once the video
information is received by the wireless client, the wireless client uses
the video information to update the display of the wireless client in a
display update act 955. Then, the processes of receiving user input(s),
and the process of receiving video updates, continue as long as the
wireless client is turned on. Of course, it should be noted that audio
information may be continuously transmitted from the wireless server to
the wireless client.
 Though the invention has been described with respect to a specific
preferred embodiment, many variations and modifications will become
apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the present
application. It is therefore the intention that the appended claims be
interpreted as broadly as possible in view of the prior art to include
all such variations and modifications.
* * * * *